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Title: The electrification of energy: Long-term trends and opportunities

Abstract

Here, we present and analyze three powerful long-term historical trends in energy, particularly electrical energy, as well as the opportunities and challenges associated with these trends. The first trend is from a world containing a diversity of energy currencies to one whose predominant currency is electricity, driven by electricity’s transportability, exchangeability, and steadily decreasing cost. The second trend is from electricity generated from a diversity of sources to electricity generated predominantly by free-fuel sources, driven by their steadily decreasing cost and long-term abundance. These trends necessitate a just-emerging third trend: from a grid in which electricity is transported unidirectionally, traded at near-static prices, and consumed under direct human control; to a grid in which electricity is transported bidirectionally, traded at dynamic prices, and consumed under human-tailored artificial agential control. These trends point toward a future in which energy is not costly, scarce, or inefficiently deployed but instead is affordable, abundant, and efficiently deployed; with major economic, geo-political, and environmental benefits to humanity.

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [4]
  1. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
  2. Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst., Troy, NY (United States)
  3. London School of Economics & Political Science, London (United Kingdom)
  4. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-CA), Livermore, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
OSTI Identifier:
1478223
Report Number(s):
SAND-2017-12043J
Journal ID: ISSN 2329-2229; applab; 658495
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC04-94AL85000
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
MRS Energy & Sustainability
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 2329-2229
Publisher:
Materials Research Society - Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY; energy generation; energy storage; environment; fossil fuel; government policy and funding

Citation Formats

Tsao, Jeffrey Y., Schubert, E. Fred, Fouquet, Roger, and Lave, Matthew. The electrification of energy: Long-term trends and opportunities. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1557/mre.2018.6.
Tsao, Jeffrey Y., Schubert, E. Fred, Fouquet, Roger, & Lave, Matthew. The electrification of energy: Long-term trends and opportunities. United States. doi:10.1557/mre.2018.6.
Tsao, Jeffrey Y., Schubert, E. Fred, Fouquet, Roger, and Lave, Matthew. Tue . "The electrification of energy: Long-term trends and opportunities". United States. doi:10.1557/mre.2018.6. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1478223.
@article{osti_1478223,
title = {The electrification of energy: Long-term trends and opportunities},
author = {Tsao, Jeffrey Y. and Schubert, E. Fred and Fouquet, Roger and Lave, Matthew},
abstractNote = {Here, we present and analyze three powerful long-term historical trends in energy, particularly electrical energy, as well as the opportunities and challenges associated with these trends. The first trend is from a world containing a diversity of energy currencies to one whose predominant currency is electricity, driven by electricity’s transportability, exchangeability, and steadily decreasing cost. The second trend is from electricity generated from a diversity of sources to electricity generated predominantly by free-fuel sources, driven by their steadily decreasing cost and long-term abundance. These trends necessitate a just-emerging third trend: from a grid in which electricity is transported unidirectionally, traded at near-static prices, and consumed under direct human control; to a grid in which electricity is transported bidirectionally, traded at dynamic prices, and consumed under human-tailored artificial agential control. These trends point toward a future in which energy is not costly, scarce, or inefficiently deployed but instead is affordable, abundant, and efficiently deployed; with major economic, geo-political, and environmental benefits to humanity.},
doi = {10.1557/mre.2018.6},
journal = {MRS Energy & Sustainability},
number = ,
volume = 5,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {6}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Figures / Tables:

Figure 1 Figure 1: Historical trend in the percentages of various energy “currencies” consumed by end users in the United Kingdom. Electricity, the most functional of the energy currencies, has commanded a continuously increasing percentage. Note that, to the extent that the electricity is generated using one of the other fuels (coal,more » petroleum, natural and town gas), the total primary consumption (not just by end users) of those other fuels is higher than indicated.« less

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      Figures/Tables have been extracted from DOE-funded journal article accepted manuscripts.